In honor of International Women's Day, we invited original cast member Shayna Padovano to write about the women of Give Us Bread. Shayna helped to research the play, creating the role of Concetta and also providing Italian translations and choreography for the original production. We are thrilled to welcome her back to NYC on Sunday, March 19th for our Concert Reading and Centennial Celebration and honored to share her words with you today.
100 years ago, immigrant women in the Lower East Side of Manhattan gathered together to protest rising food prices that rendered them unable to feed their families. Their choice to march that day on February 20, 1917 was incited by a deep, festering anger and resentment towards politicians and a system that was leaving their children with empty bellies at night. Their actions translated into “no more.” No more to rising food prices. No more to unequal access to food. They drew the line and took a bold, collective action in an effort to change their social reality. As we commemorate the centennial of this little known part of history, let us consider the actions we take today and how those actions translate. What do the choices we make today, and every day moving forward, say about what type of country we want to live in and what we believe is worth fighting for?
Today’s is International Women’s Day. The theme this year, #BeBoldForChange, asks women and men around the world to commit to change in through championing gender equality and inclusivity.
Today is also A Day Without a Woman. Women around the country are being called to strike, to not go into work (for those who are able), to wear red and volunteer in our communities. We are being asked not to shop, and if we do shop to do so only at small, women owned businesses. This strike seeks to galvanize women across the country and re-engage the collective energy that resulted from the Women’s March on Washington that brought approximately a half a million people to Washington, DC on January 21st. The goal of today is to show the impact that women have on socio-economic system and the space that is left when women are taken out of the picture.
Today is a day when we are being asked to think differently: to look critically at our country, and our world and decide how our behaviors this day and every day contribute to shaping our social reality. We are being asked to take bold steps towards making a different choice in how we see and contribute to our communities and places of work. We are being asked to get out of our daily routines and engage in collective social action through protest, service, and learning. Think about what actions you are taking today: do they reflect what you value and what you believe is worth fighting for? Like the women 100 years ago, what is your "no more"?
Shayna Padovano as Concetta in Give Us Bread (2009)
Shayna Padovano is a management consultant in Washington, DC where she works with government and multilateral organizations in the areas of human capital, organizational efficiency, and change. She holds a Master's degree in International Communication and Management from American University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Arts with a minor in Italian Studies from Boston University. Shayna is passionate about theatre and performance and is an Adjunct Professor of Public Speaking at Georgetown University.